KZN to increase the number of no-fee schools

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pietermaritzburg - The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government is to increase the number of no-fee schools within the province to enable all South Africans to access quality education.

Delivering his Provincial Budget on Wednesday, MEC for Finance and Economic Development, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the provincial government will continue to improve access to quality education by poor South Africans.

"We will do this by increasing the number of no-fee schools from 40 percent to 60 percent this year," said Dr Mkhize.

The total budget for the provincial Department of Education has increased from R13 billion in 2004/05 to R21.3 billion this financial year.

By 2011/12, the MEC said, the education budget will reach R30.4 billion, making it by far the largest budget compared to other provinces.

"The education capital infrastructure budget has also increased from R308 million in 2004/05, to well over R1 billion this year," the MEC said, adding that it will further increase to R2.4 billion in 2011/12.

Over the years the provincial government has also increased sanitation facilities and the provision of electricity at schools throughout the province.

"The number of schools with sanitation facilities has also increased from 5 379 in 2004/05 to 5 797 in 2008/09.

"We have also made significant strides in the provision of electricity in our schools in the province. In 2004/05, 3 916 schools had electricity and by the end of 2009/10, we expect 4 767 schools to have electricity."

The total education budget for this year also includes reducing the learner, educator ratio as well as making schools more accessible to poorer learners and learners with special needs.

"The teacher pupil ratio has been reduced from an undesirable 35 to 1 in 2004/05 to a more appropriate 31 to 1 in 2008/09," MEC Mkhize said.